Friday, April 21, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Homeland Security selects Mississippi university for drone testing
Whether it's about surveillance operations on America's waters, preventing undocumented immigrants from entering the country, or defending the president, drones are set to play a major role in government operations. The Department of Homeland Security announced on April 19 that Mississippi State University has been chosen as the new base of operations for drone research and development. The department's Science and Technology Directorate is looking to the institution to lead efforts on coordinating aerial drone research. Dallas Brooks, director of MSU's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, who will head the research and training, said in a statement he believed Mississippi was well-suited to take on such responsibilities considering its diverse land and water environments that are ideal for different test scenarios.
Mississippi family farms play big role in beef industry
Finding ways to feed and sustain the beef industry is something Mississippians are thriving in. In fact, nearly 16,000 families in our state raise beef cattle on their farms every year. "There's no corporate farming when it comes to beef," said Dr. John Blanton, professor, and head of Mississippi State University's Animal and Dairy Science Department. "It's all individual families." To find the biggest Charolais cattle ranch rast of the Mississippi River, all you have to do is venture over to Collins. There live five generations of ranchers that have been raising cattle since 1926, but as Doug Rogers will tell you, the business isn't always easy and it's one you can't just jump into overnight. Rogers' farm, like others, is just one of many stopping points where cattle go before making it to the processing plant, then to our plates. A large amount of the nation's cattle, Blanton says, are born in Florida then brought here to Mississippi for grazing before being shipped out to Texas, Oklahoma or Kansas.
Scientists urge residents to recycle, throw away trash
Officials at the Institute of Marine Mammal Science in Gulfport say they found the deceased loggerhead turtle with plastic deeply embedded in its nostrils. The plastic had been there so long, it eventually took the shape of the animal's nose. On Thursday, IMMS researchers removed the plastic to demonstrate how it contributed to the turtle's death. Officials hope the examination process will allow people to have a better understanding of how harmful plastics can be to wildlife and humans. "What we're trying to do here is show people that there are consequences to the use of plastics and the improper disposal of plastics. We're not recycling plastics as well as we should, and they're not going away just because it's not something we necessarily see anymore," said Tim Morgan, associate professor of pathology at Mississippi State University. "They stick around in the environment and they can have some pretty devastating effects on animals in the marine environment, as well as animals on land." Once plastic is disposed of, it doesn't just disappear. Often times it ends up negatively impacting wildlife.
New school district superintendent welcomed to Starkville, Oktibbeha County
Public education employees and supporters turned out Thursday to welcome the new leader of the Starkville-Oktibbeha County School District. A reception was held at the Greensboro Center for Dr. Eddie Peasant, who was hired by the school board in late February to take over for the retiring Lewis Holloway. Peasant comes to the Golden Triangle after working as an assistant superintendent for the Tupelo Public School District. The new leader expects plenty to do in the weeks ahead as he takes over a recently consolidated district, which will build a new school at Mississippi State University for 6th and 7th graders.
Oktibbeha considers GPS trackers for road equipment
Oktibbeha County punted a decision on placing Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers in road department vehicles to May after supervisors raised questions Monday about employees' productivity and how such a tracking system would affect morale. Supervisors began discussing the pending purchase after receiving a quote from the Starkville-based Security Solutions for 25 units at a monthly $25 per-unit rate. The total cost includes installation, setup services for monitoring computers and unit replacement and maintenance as needed. The board took no action on the offer as supervisors have not yet determined how many units to purchase and on which county vehicles and equipment apparatuses to install the devices. Both District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller and District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery stumped for the potential purchase as a way to assist with the county's ongoing reassessment of its road department.
For blues fans, Mississippi Delta has many stories to tell
The Mississippi Delta has no shortage of museums, historic attractions and clubs devoted to the blues. But visitors will find the region has many other stories to tell, from the cotton plantations where African-American families worked and lived in desperate poverty to culinary traditions that reflect a surprising ethnic diversity. You can't miss the big blue guitars marking the famous crossroads of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale. This is where, according to legend, Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to learn how to play the blues. Roadside signs for the Mississippi Blues Trail make it easy to find other sites as well, from Clarksdale's Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died, to the Dockery Farms cotton plantation in Cleveland, where many pioneering bluesmen lived, worked and made music, among them Charley Patton, Roebuck "Pops" Staples and Howlin' Wolf.
Coast casinos taking in more money than last year
The 12 Coast casinos are $14 million ahead for the first three months of the year after posting a $2.8 million increase for March. LuAnn Pappas, president and CEO of Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, said March was the casino's second-best month since it opened in D'Iberville in December 2015. Revenue on the Coast increased by $2.8 million compared with March 2016. The river casinos also were up compared with a year ago, bumping the total for Mississippi to 1.7 percent. For the first quarter, the casino revenue in South Mississippi stands at $304 million compared with $290 million for the first quarter in 2016, according to numbers from the state Department of Revenue.
MDHS confirms most new applicants rejected for welfare
The Mississippi Department of Human Services has confirmed that of the more than 11,700 people who applied for benefits last year through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, only 167 were approved. ThinkProgress, referred to as a progressive news website, reported last week that Mississippi is rejecting nearly all the low-income people who apply for welfare, citing an acceptance rate of 1.42 percent, leading to Mississippi having the highest rejection rate of any state in the country. DHS spokesman Paul Nelson confirmed Thursday the figures were correct. He emailed a sheet of possible reasons for rejecting applicants. Rep. Jarvis Dortch, D-Raymond, said he hasn't been able to get a justification for so few applicants being approved for TANF.
$50K to say wild hogs are dangerous? Governor nixes that
Mississippi does not need to spend $50,000 on a public relations campaign to tell people that wild hogs are dangerous, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said this week in blocking part of a budget bill. He vetoed that bit of spending in Senate Bill 3015 , saying the group designated to receive the money, Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Service, didn't even request it. Earlier this year, the extension service went to the Beaver and Wild Hog Control Advisory Board and presented a no-cost option to spread information about the destruction wild hogs can cause. Bryant said the state should try that before spending money. The governor also vetoed a portion of Senate Bill 2956 that could have limited state financial aid to students attending private universities. Bryant also struck down all of Senate Bill 2861 , which would have created a committee to examine emergency telephone service charges.
Gov. Phil Bryant vetoes part of college financial aid bill
Gov. Phil Bryant has vetoed a section of the financial aid appropriations bill that would have required grants for students attending private universities to be prorated in the event the state didn't have enough money to fund all requested grants. "The provision is unconstitutional in that, by attempting to exempt public university students from financial aid reductions, it purports to engraft substantial legislation onto an appropriations bill," Bryant wrote in his partial veto message to the Senate. Senate Bill 2956 received attention after legislators inserted language into the conference report eliminating "stacking" of financial aid grants, or the ability for college students to use more than one state grant per school year.
Senate Budget Officer joins EdBuild
Senate Budget Officer Drew Maddox has accepted a position at EdBuild, the education consulting group hired by the Legislature to propose recommendations for rewriting Mississippi's school funding formula. Rebecca Sibilia, CEO of the New Jersey-based non-profit firm, confirmed the hiring to The Clarion-Ledger Thursday. Maddox will serve as EdBuild's director of state engagement. Maddox worked closely with Senate Appropriation Chairman Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, during the budget-writing process. In the Senate chamber, he was often a key point person when legislators had questions about state spending.
Audit of Mississippi Department of Education finds deficiencies, delays, weaknesses
A financial audit of several federal programs at the Mississippi Department of Education found significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in the Department's accounting and program administration last fiscal year, auditors told members of the State Board of Education on Thursday. CliftonLarsonAllen, a Minnesota-based accounting firm, was tasked with auditing certain funds of the Department after officials overspent federal Title IV funds, also known as 21st Century Community Learning Center funds. As a result of the error, three department employees were fired and only 28 school districts and organizations received federal funding for after-school programs for low-income students this school year, compared to more than 100 the previous year.
MDE audit finds problems with accounting practices
Two independent audits of the state Department of Education for the 2016 fiscal year detail a system for federal programs with deficient accounting practices and material weaknesses. Education officials announced the nine findings in a news release Thursday, noting that though the audits found deficient accounting practices, all state and federal money was accounted for. The release did not include a copy of the full report, spell out what the specific findings were or detail the reference to material weaknesses. he report from CliftonLarsonAllen stated the accounting department was unprepared for the review. The compliance and fund-level financial reviews by the Minnesota-based accounting firm came after the misspending of federal funds resulted in the loss of promised after-school grants for several school districts.
Mississippi schools raise tuition after budget cuts
Mississippi's eight public universities are raising tuition by an average of 6.6 percent next fall, saying state budget cuts require them to raise more revenue from students. The College Board on Thursday approved additional tuition increases at all of the universities. The vote came without the normal 30-day waiting period, and increases bumped up the normally scheduled tuition increases that were approved last fall. "The reality of the situation is we've had some very significant reductions," said Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, saying universities have been forced to adjust to multiple midyear budget cuts, in addition to the decrease in state funding set to begin July 1. Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce said the universities are also working on cutting spending. "It's not just about raising tuition," Boyce said.
Tuition hikes to hit hard at The W, Mississippi State
Heather Evans drove up from her home in Kemper County to Columbus Thursday to spend the day with her daughter, Hannah, a freshman at Mississippi University for Women. What she might have heard back at home, she heard first on campus: Thursday, the Institutions of Higher Learning announced tuition increases at all eight of the state's public universities, including a 9.1 percent increase at The W, the highest percentage increase among the eight schools. "I hate to hear that, but I'm not surprised," she said. "We have talked about this as a family." Heather's husband, Michael, a Democrat, represents District 45 in the Mississippi House of Representatives. "He's one of the few in the Legislature who was opposed to the cuts," Heather Evans said. "It's not just college and universities, either. It's at all levels." At Mississippi State, Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said while the university is sensitive to the impact of the tuition increase, the bottom line is quality. "Higher education is an investment for students and their families, and they should see a lifetime return on that investment," Salter said. "At MSU, we feel we are meeting that test ... even with the tuition increase."
Cost of attending college in Mississippi surges again
Mississippi's public universities will increase tuition to compensate for state budget cuts and increasing costs to maintain academic programs, technology and faculty on campuses. The statewide average for two semesters of full-time tuition and fees will rise by an average of $463 to $7,491. At Mississippi State University, spokesman Sid Salter said budget cuts also impact the university's ability to maintain quality, yet it is something the administration has been dealing with since the Great Recession of 2008. "Our students, their parents -- the folks who are bearing the weight of tuition -- they have an expectation for the same level of quality at Mississippi State and other Mississippi institutions that those students would find at peer institutions across state lines," Salter said.
College Costs are on the Rise
College is expensive and this fall, that price tag will be even higher. On Thursday, the state College Board approved additional tuition increases at Mississippi's eight public universities. The tuition spike will cost students a few hundred dollars a semester. Mississippi State University Communications Chief Officer Sid Salter says that budget trick is now part of the university's DNA. "The state tuition increase is part of the current budget reality in state government. It affects higher education, as it affects every other state agency." While prices may change, Salter says the university's mission remains the same. "Any increase in tuition is significant for those students and their families and we realize that, but the fact in the matter, the current budget realities dictate that in order that we maintain the level of quality in our academic programs, we've got to have the sources to operate."
March for Science set for Saturday at U. of Mississippi
In celebration of scientific investigation and its benefits, and in support for publicly-funded science, the Oxford community is invited to a March for Science this weekend. Co-sponsored by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Physics Graduate Students Association, the nonpartisan event begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on the steps of the Lyceum. Walkers will begin a 1-mile route through the Grove, head east on University Avenue, then north on South Lamar Boulevard. The march ends with a gathering on the Square. "We value inclusion, diversity, equity and access to everybody," said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy and one of the event's organizers. "We aim for a diverse group of participants, including first-time marchers. Families with young children are welcome."
Louisiana senators refuse to make TOPS grads stay or repay
College students who receive tuition payments through the TOPS program won't face new residency or repayment requirements for their awards. State senators Thursday (April 20) rejected a proposal that would have mandated TOPS students live in the state for several years after graduation or reimburse Louisiana for a portion of their tuition costs. Sen. Jay Luneau, an Alexandria Democrat, said his SB 110 proposal was aimed at trying to persuade college graduates to say here as taxpayers, rather than taking TOPS money to help get a degree and then bailing on Louisiana. "Maybe it's the encouragement that they need to stay in the state and become productive citizens here," Luneau said. But his argument was unable to sway enough of his colleagues. The Senate Education voted 4-2 to shelve Luneau's bill.
U. of Tennessee students participating in undergrad research grows
Seconds before the launch of their bright orange Rube Goldberg machine, Natalie Bogda and Su Kang had a question. "Do we only get one try?" the University of Tennessee seniors asked after assembling the multifaceted contraption on the floor of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. Despite their trepidation, the machine did its job without a hitch --- sending two marbles swirling down a slide to create a Power T out of dominoes -- and sending applause echoing through the museum auditorium. And while only one team of students chose to participate in the competition, the event comes in the midst of a trend toward growing participation in undergraduate research, according to the university. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of undergraduate students participating in research more than doubled from 722 students in 2015 to 1,468. At the same time, the number of faculty members helping mentor undergraduates increased by 87 percent, from 321 to 601, according to the Office of Research and Engagement.
White supremacists targeting universities: Are Georgia colleges ready for alt-right rallies?
White supremacist Richard Spencer had rented Foy Hall's 430-seat auditorium for two hours Tues...White supremacist Richard Spencer had rented Foy Hall's 430-seat auditorium for two hours Tuesday, and when time was up Auburn University officials invited those who remained to leave. For some members of Spencer's supporters, that meant walking near hundreds of Auburn students and a much smaller number of anti-fascist protesters who had waited through the evening behind police barricades. There was pushing as the assemblage of racists, counter-demonstrators and underclassmen approached the edge of campus. Then the alt-right activists took off running. "They're running!" someone shouted. And suddenly everyone was running. "This is great!" one young man in the crowd shouted to his friend as they jumped over the university's landscaping. A crowd of well more than 100, largely made up of students, chased them to Toomer's Corner before scattering. Thus ended the kind of evening Auburn officials had sought to avoid. Georgia take note: This show is on tour and could be coming our way.
U. of Florida Health's newest hospitals take pains with details
From bathroom floors that slope ever so slightly to operating rooms that have adjoining imaging machines, the building that will house two new UF Health hospitals is a model of attention-to-detail design. A media tour of the UF Health Heart and Vascular Hospital and the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital was given Thursday to show off the $415 million facilities expected to open at the end of the year. "We are trying to create spaces that make people more comfortable. We know that they are here often for longer stays so to create a space for the perfect patient experience is what we are trying to address," said Bradley Pollitt, vice president of facilities for UF Health Shands. At 514,104 square feet, the new facility will have 216 private rooms for the two specialities in separate sides of the building. Each side has operating rooms, exam rooms and specialized equipment.
Auburn, Berkeley incidents illustrate how difficult it is for public colleges to bar speakers
Citing safety concerns, two universities this week attempted to block planned appearances at their campuses -- one from white nationalist Richard Spencer at Auburn University, the other from conservative political commentator Ann Coulter at University of California, Berkeley. Both right-wing figures defied the universities, boasting they would show up regardless, and the institutions, both public, eventually said that they would allow the events, in Auburn's case because a federal judge backed Spencer's right to speak. Spencer addressed Auburn's campus Tuesday. Coulter has been invited to appear May 2, not April 27 as originally scheduled. Berkeley on Thursday reversed its initial announcement that Coulter couldn't come until the fall. Late Thursday, Coulter was tweeting that she was going to come on the original date, with or without the university's approval. The decisions to cancel had been panned as a violation of free speech protections considered paramount on college campuses and protected, at public institutions, by the First Amendment.
Quonset huts face demolition, but one remains a quirky reminder of U. of Missouri's past
Megan Smith is continuing a mini-family tradition of living in a Quonset hut. About 60 years ago, her grandmother lived in one while she attended college in Minnesota. Now Smith, a University of Missouri sophomore, is living in a Quonset hut on College Avenue. Robert Craig, the owner of the two huts adjacent to Smith's, applied for a demolition permit on March 21, city senior building inspector Doug Kenney said. Before obtaining the permit, the owners had to wait 30 days for historical preservation review. This allows the City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission to provide any comment on the property before it is destroyed. In 1946, MU saw an enrollment increase of about 8,000 students after returning soldiers took advantage of the GI Bill. To accommodate the enrollment boom, MU built temporary dorms, trailers and Quonset huts. Those additional accommodations housed an additional 2,800 students, according to the MU archives.
Scientists prepare to march on Trump
Scientists and climate activists opposed to the Trump administration are bringing their message to the streets of Washington. Two marches in D.C. this month will bring out scientists and other protesters who say the Trump administration's policies sideline science's role in public policy, undermining the science on climate change and other issues. Organizers will host the March for Science on the National Mall on Saturday, followed by the People's Climate March the week after. Trump is the unifying factor for both marches, both in how they came together and what messages they'll promote. Activists have tried to pitch the March for Science as a non-partisan event, and Saturday's demonstrators won't demand specific policy outcomes beyond supporting science as a guide for public policy. Next weekend's climate march, on the other hand, will directly pressure policymakers.
University researchers, scientists make rare political engagement over fears about federal role
The national march in D.C. this Saturday, along with satellite events across the country (and around the world) likely won't match the turnout of the Women's March on Jan. 21 -- a protest some observers speculated was among the largest in U.S. history. But the March for Science has received intense levels of interest since organizers in January began discussing the possibility and subsequently launched Facebook and Twitter accounts. Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said those efforts by first-time organizers grew out of the Women's March, where many participants brought messages in support of science to an event with an ostensibly separate purpose. Despite those origins, Holt said this week that the March for Science is a nonpartisan event that will focus on a positive message about what's needed for science to thrive. Anxiety about the role of science in society and public policy has led members of the profession to engage the larger public in a way they haven't before, he said.

Bulldogs stem the Tide in series opener
No. 15 Mississippi State is off to a good start in its attempt to win a fifth consecutive SEC series. The Diamond Dogs held on for a 6-5 victory over Alabama on Thursday to improve to 26-14 overall and 11-5 in league play. MSU broke up a 3-3 tie in the fifth frame by plating three runs with two outs. Josh Lovelady drove in Ryan Gridley on a single to right and Elijah MacNamee also motored home on a throwing error on the play. Harrison Bragg followed up with an RBI double. The Bulldogs collected nine hits on the night led by former Amory and ICC standout Tanner Poole, who went 3 for 4 with a double and one RBI. Ryan Gridley was 2 for 5 with a pair of singles.
Mississippi State takes opener against Alabama
From the first batter Konnor Pilkington faced, it was clear the lefty's start would be a laborious one. A few hard-hit foul balls. No offerings at the off-speed stuff. A 10-pitch at-bat. Things never came easy on Thursday night for Mississippi State's ace and only reliable starting pitcher. Pilkington threw 56 pitches by the end of the third inning, and had allowed two runs. Trey Jolly started warming up in the fourth, creating a scene Andy Cannizaro surely didn't want to see with the Bulldogs' depleted pitching staff needing to piece things together in a doubleheader Friday. Pilkington was done after 5 2/3 innings. He was charged with five runs (four earned) and allowed five hits and four walks. But Mississippi State still won the game. The Bulldogs took the opener of a three-game series against Alabama, 6-5, at Dudy Noble Field. It was already cliche, so now it's also getting repetitious: Regardless of the circumstances and despite an early deficit, the Bulldogs usually are not going to give up.
Bulldogs nail down win over Alabama
No. 11 Mississippi State returned home Thursday and used its popular formula of aggressive base running and strong relief pitching to nail down a 6-5 victory over Alabama at Dudy Noble Field. With the win, MSU improved to 26-14 overall and 11-5 in league play. Alabama fell to 15-23 and 2-14. The Bulldogs have won the opening game of a conference series for the fourth time in six tries this season. "This league is such a beast," head coach Andy Cannizaro said. "I am proud at how hard we are competing right now. You have to fight to get every win in this league. The more we play, the deeper our lineup is getting. This team is becoming a lot better as it gets more balance."
Weather forces Friday doubleheader for Mississippi State-Alabama series
With an unfavorable weather forecast on the horizon for Saturday, Mississippi State's series with Alabama will now conclude with a Friday doubleheader at Dudy Noble Field. The first game of the day, also the second game of the series, will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday with game two of the twin bill and series finale to begin approximately 40 minutes following the conclusion of the day's first game. Tickets for Friday's and Saturday's games can both be used for admission into Dudy Noble during the doubleheader, with Saturday reserved tickets to only be valid for general admission seating on Friday.
Jake Mangum has added maroon to his family tree
In the spring of 2013, one of the worst kept secrets in college baseball recruiting was Jake Mangum's love for Alabama. Anyone who talked to Mangum could tell he was raised in an Alabama household. His father, John, played football for the Crimson Tide in the late 1980s. His commitment to Alabama seemed airtight, so much so that then-Mississippi State coach John Cohen stopped recruiting one of the state's best prospects once he learned of the commitment. Luckily for Cohen and now for current coach Andy Cannizaro, Mangum decided to inject the first dose of maroon into the family tree. "The M over S means a lot more to me than the script A," Mangum said.
Pitching depth has been crucial for Mississippi State softball
Mississippi State softball coach Vann Stuedeman admits she might be a little harder on her pitchers. After all, Stuedeman made a name for herself as a longtime pitching coaching at Alabama. Now, Stuedeman is enjoying similar success stories with MSU's pitchers. Her deepest pitching staff to date will be on display this weekend when MSU (32-14, 6-9 Southeastern Conference) takes on No. 24 Arkansas (27-16, 5-13) in a three-game SEC series at Nusz Park. Game times are 5 p.m. Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday, and 6 p.m. Monday. All three games will be televised on the SEC Network. "It is so much fun to pitch for this team because the pitching staff is like a group of sisters," MSU junior Holly Ward said. "We are there to push one another and support one another. Through the ups and downs, we are there for one another. I have confidence in every one of my pitchers."
Former Mississippi State football star takes over as FCA president
He was No. 24 at Mississippi State, on and off the football field. It was his identity, his self worth, his calling card. "Everything about me was wrapped up in being a football player," Bill Buckley recalls. "That's all I could see. That's all I was interested in. "I'd been raised by two of the best parents a guy could ever ask for. I'd grown up going to church, but I never really had a relationship with the Lord. None of that was their fault. It was my own ego. I wasn't interested in God at that time." That was 45 years ago, and a lot has changed about 66-year-old Bill Buckley. He has spent the past 22 years working with the Mississippi chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Beginning May 1, Buckley will become the new state director of the FCA, replacing Josh Gilreath. It is not something he saw coming.
USM AD Jon Gilbert: 'We've got to generate more revenue'
The financial divide within college athletics has long been extreme. So where does Southern Miss fall in this financial spectrum? Southern Miss was once a contemporary of East Carolina, both members of Conference USA in 2005. At the time, the Hattiesburg university trailed East Carolina in the revenue race by less than $3 million. Ten years later, Southern Miss has seen a 33 percent increase ($23.97 million in revenue in 2015, next-to-last among Conference USA institutions whose budgets are public record) while East Carolina, now an American Athletic Conference member, has experienced growth more than four times that rate. "Obviously, we've got to generate more revenue," new Southern Miss athletic director Jon Gilbert said. Stimulating a cash flow stream that has lagged well behind even Southern Miss' newest peers within Conference USA is priority No. 1 for Gilbert.
USM receives over $670K for 'student-athlete welfare'
The University of Southern Mississippi has received over $670,000 from the NCAA Wednesday to use towards "student-athlete welfare" in the athletic program. The special, one-time $200 million distribution is funded from a liquidation of NCAA Quasi-Endowment. That is money established by the institution from either donors or institutional funds that is retained and invested, rather than expended. According to the NCAA, those funds were disbursed on April 19, 2017. Division I athletic departments in Mississippi received checks for more than $3.4 million. There are six division I colleges across the state, those payments range from $741,538 for Mississippi State to $239,039 for Mississippi Valley State University.
Seven more Alcorn State players arrested, bringing total to 18
The fallout from an on-campus brawl last week continued to hit Alcorn State Thursday. Seven more Alcorn State football players were charged with misdemeanors in connection with a fight that broke out on campus last week, bringing the total number of players arrested to 18. The charges against the players range from malicious mischief to simple assault. The fight, which started in the school cafeteria, was captured on several cell phone cameras and widely circulated last week. ESPN published the following statement from the university Thursday morning: "Maintaining a safe and secure campus community is the institution's top priority," Alcorn State said in a statement. "Campus police investigate all instances of student misconduct thoroughly and appropriate disciplinary actions are implemented in accordance with Alcorn's student code of conduct."
Former JSU football coach sues for racial discrimination
Harold Jackson isn't happy with the $65,000 buyout Jackson State paid him after he was fired in October 2015. Jackson alleged racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hinds County Court. The lawsuit, which seeks relief to the tune of $300,000 plus damages, accuses the plaintiffs named in the case -- the State College Board, State College Board commissioner Glenn Boyce, former JSU president Carolyn Meyers and 10 John Does -- of breach of contract and racial discrimination. Jackson's lawyer, John C. Hall Jr. did not immediately return a phone call Thursday, and Jackson State has not commented on the suit.
Three Auburn softball players arrested on marijuana charges
Auburn softball players Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin and Brittany Maresette were arrested early Thursday morning, according to the Auburn Police Department. All three were charged with possession of marijuana in the second degree and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police reports. They were arrested at 12:47 a.m. on East Samford Ave., approximately four hours after the team's 7-3 victory over Kennesaw State at Jane B. Moore Field. The Auburn Athletic Department confirmed that the three players had been arrested, but did not have a statement as of 3 p.m. Thursday. A university spokesperson did tell the Opelika-Auburn News that the three players did not make the trip with the team for this weekend's series at South Carolina and have been suspended indefinitely.
New clear-bag policy in effect for G-Day game at Sanford Stadium
Saturday's G-Day intrasquad football game at the University of Georgia' Sanford Stadium will mark the first time that the school will observe the Southeastern Conference Clear Bag Policy in 2017. The policy will go into effect permanently for the 2017-18 competition season and will include Stegeman Coliseum and Foley Field as well as Sanford Stadium. According to the Georgia athletics website, several SEC schools began implementing this policy in the 2016 school year, and all conference schools will have it in place by the upcoming school year.
Louisville officials meet with NCAA Committee on Infractions
Louisville's interim president said the school received a "full and fair review of the facts" after meeting Thursday with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions and expects resolution in 6 to 8 weeks of the investigation into an escort's allegations that a former Cardinals men's basketball staffer hired strippers for sex parties with players and recruits. Greg Postel's statement did not specify where the hearing occurred or whether coach Rick Pitino or athletic director Tom Jurich participated, just that a "group of officials" met with the governing body. Louisville is accused of four violations, including one against Pitino for failing to monitor former staffer Andre McGee. The NCAA's Notice of Allegations last October charged Louisville with four Level 1 violations including the one against Pitino, who has denied knowledge of the activities described in Powell's book.
Eli Manning Denies Claim Regarding Fake Game-Used Memorabilia
Eli Manning angrily denied providing fake game-used memorabilia to a collector, insisting Thursday that he would ultimately be vindicated. Manning addressed the accusations after a plaintiff in a 2014 lawsuit recently filed a motion to compel testimony that included an email from Manning to a team equipment manager asking for two helmets that could pass as game-used items. Manning refused to discuss the specifics of the civil case, which is scheduled to go to trial in September in state Superior Court in Bergen County, N.J. Manning said he could handle people attacking him for his play, but attacking his integrity was something else, and his voice reflected that he was upset.
DEA warned NFL doctors about drug laws in 2011 -- it didn't go well
On a cold day in February 2011, doctors and athletic trainers from the NFL's 32 teams gathered at a hotel ballroom in downtown Indianapolis. Under scrutiny for its handling of prescription drugs, the league had invited the Drug Enforcement Administration , and an official named Joseph T. Rannazzisi made the trip from Washington armed with more than 80 slides of charts, photographs and bullet points about federal laws that govern how the doctors can medicate professional football players suffering from pain and injuries. The presentation was called "NFL Physicians Briefing: Obligations and Responsibilities under the Controlled Substances Act and Code of Federal Regulations." It did not unfold as planned. The NFL doctors grew defensive, then angry, according to participants in the room, as Rannazzisi lectured them on their duties and responsibilities in the context of the opioid epidemic that was sweeping the country. The doctors felt they were being compared to pill pushers, and the meeting became confrontational.

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